The dummies guide to PC lingo

Women looking at a computer
Women looking at computer. Highwaystarz-Photography/

Do you know your 404 error from your RAM? Are you always on?  Do you think antivirus is a cure for the Zombie apocalypse? Don’t be left in the clouds, here’s an easy PC guide for beginners.

Look, we all can’t be proficient when it comes to computers. It’s not like we don’t want to be, it is just that anything over and above switching the thing on or moving a mouse becomes quite technical – and there are professionals out there to help with any and all computer-related questions, so why bother to learn ourselves?

Well, firstly, knowing the basics will ensure you aren’t completely taken for a ride when it comes to you needing a PC upgrade or when buying a new computer. Secondly, looks can be deceiving, so when you pluck up the courage to chat to that attractive person at the bar, maybe knowing a few things about computers will come in handy?

Regardless of your situation, here are seven terms used in the world of computers which we feel you need to know:


Let’s start with a very easy one. ‘PC’ means personal computer. It also means ‘politically correct’, but that is a discussion for another day…


‘RAM’ stands for Random Access Memory. It is basically the little piece of hardware which ensures your computer runs smoothly. If you have too little RAM and too many things on your computer, then your computer will struggle to run as it is supposed to. The more RAM the better.


‘HDD’ stands for hard disk drive. This is where you store all your data on your PC, like programs, photos, and music.


‘GB’ stands for gigabyte. This is a unit of measurement used when it comes to your HDD. 500GB is about the minimum required in current times.


‘BIOS’ stands for Basic Input/Output System. In the most simple terms, if you don’t have a BIOS, your computer will never work. It is the preset program on which everything else is added to on your computer.


(Central Processing Unit) The nerve centre of the computer: everything flows through it. Often just called “the processor”. The best-known PC processors are Intel’s Pentium and AMD’s Athlon.


Software which displays advertisements on your computer. Sometimes installed as part of a “free” application, sometimes by stealth. See also Malware, Spyware.

Do you feel clever now? Do you think you could make an informed choice when buying a computer?